Ready for Your Close Up?: How to Take the Perfect Headshot
The right headshot can land you the right job and improve your website. Check out this guide to learn how to take the perfect headshot.
A professional headshot makes your website look more professional. It also puts a face to a name, instills trust, and defines your brand, which can help you stand out from others when applying for a position.
Read on to learn how to take the perfect headshot.
Connect Before the Session For a Consult
Professional headshots can be intimidating and nerve-wracking for many people. Some people dread having their photo taken.
Unfortunately, that awkwardness is visible in the finished product. It can help make people feel more comfortable if they've had a chance to connect first.
You can connect either by phone or face to face to help people feel more relaxed before their session. It also gives you a chance to explain what they can expect during and after the photoshoot.
During this consult, you should also make sure you understand exactly what your client is looking for. Remember, your client will have an idea in mind, and even the best photo will be a disappointment if you didn't capture their vision.
Advise Them on the Right Clothes
For the perfect headshot, the client must wear the right clothing. You don't want patterns or colours that distract from the person's face.
You might want to encourage your client to bring several items so that you can see which one works best. Remind people to iron their shirts the day of the shoot, as it's one of the small things that many people forget.
Take the Background Into Account
Your client should not stand too close to the background because it can cause shadows to appear, especially if you are taking indoor photos.
Keep a good amount of separation space between your subject and the background. Also, consider how the colours the client wears will look against the background.
The headshot background doesn't have to be blank and boring, but it should never take the attention away from the subject.
Focus on the Eyes
The eyes are the most important part of professional headshots. You want to capture the unique expression in the eyes. This draws the viewer into the photo and establishes a connection.
So while hair and head position do matter, focus on getting the eyes just right.
Watch your Angles
Always keep in mind that the angle of a shot will affect how headshot poses look and feel.
To emphasise the eyes and make female faces look delicate, shoot slightly downward. For guys, shoot slightly up to enhance the strong jaw.
Use Diffused Light
The perfect headshot won't require a ton of editing to hide blemishes on the skin. You can help the skin look flawless by shooting in diffused light.
Diffused light makes all the difference when shooting the perfect headshot. This light will define the planes of the face while hiding blemishes.
Use the Right Lens
The difference between a selfie and a dynamic professional headshot often comes down to the lens.
Yet, it's important to watch for lens distortion. Avoid mid and wide-angle lenses for headshots. Instead, opt for a lens of 90mm or above to slim faces in a flattering way.
Where to Focus
When shooting professional headshots, focus on the eye closest to you. Select the right shutter speed and check the back of your camera.
Take a moment to zoom in to make sure the image in focus. Now you are ready to begin shooting.
Encourage a Few Silly Faces to Warm Up
The perfect headshot showcases a natural smile. One of the best ways to prevent forced smiles is to ask them to make a silly face for the first frame.
Not only will this idea help them relax, but it also gives you a chance to test the lighting.
Play with Different Headshot Poses
Don't be afraid to change it up.
Play with some sitting and standing poses and vary the composition and poses. Playing with different poses will give your client plenty of options to choose from.
Some clients will want a professional headshot that is unconventional. You can achieve that look with different poses.
Sometimes the smallest adjustments can make all the difference. Once you have your subject in the right pose, you can ask them for some small adjustments.
For example, you can ask them to extend their neck to avoid a double chin. If men are standing, their hands in their pockets help them look more relaxed.
Women should pop her front leg a tiny bit for a slimmer looking leg. If you are photographing above the waist, shoot at a slight angle.
Reinforce And Give Encouragement
During the shoot, you need to give your client positive feedback. Your client will be nervous. He or she will feel like you are staring and standing too close.
Silence will make them worry that they aren't doing something right. Fill that silence with a corny joke or two.
And tell your client what he or she is doing good, even if they aren't quite doing it right!
Things like, "I love how relaxed your shoulders and hands look" can prompt your subject to relax a little more.
Remember, the less awkward your subject feels, the better the headshot will turn out. If at the end of the session they say that it wasn't as bad as they thought it would be, take that as a job well done!
Final Thoughts on the Perfect Headshot
We hope this guide on taking the perfect headshot helps you take photos that your clients will love and that you will be proud to add to your portfolio.
Are you looking for a freelance photographer to help with your next project? Contact Stavros Sakellaris today.